"ULTRAJECTUM (as the Romans called it)" Top 5 Page for this destination Utrecht by pieter_jan_v

Utrecht Travel Guide: 633 reviews and 1,541 photos

The centre of the Netherlands
Utrecht History

Utrecht started as a Roman fortress in 50 AC at the bank of the Rhine river. The simple wooden and earth fortification was part of the so called Limes, the boundary of the Roman Empire. The limes now are being displayed in the Utrecht pavement at a number of streets.

Till 270 AC the settlement was rebuild and strengthed a number of times. After the Romans retreated the Frisians and the Franks had many battles over the control of the Trecht stronghold.

In 690 the Anglo-Saksian missionary and bishop Willibrord came to Utrecht and grounded a religeous centre and started the construction af two churches. In later centuries these became the Dom church, the St. Salvator church with in between the chapel of the Holy Cross.

From the seventh century Catholic bishops controlled Utrecht, a number of times interrupted by invading Vikings.

From the tenth century the bishop power increased and he ruled as a King over the area called Het Sticht. Craftsmen and traders grew in numbers and Utrecht became an economical important place.

In the eleventh century three more churches and a abby were builded and two palaces were constructed.

Utrecht got its town right at June 2, 1122 with a confirmation by Emperor Hendrik V. Utrecht now became a real town with more rights and power for its inhabitants. The construction of a city wall started.

During the Middle Ages Utrecht became less powerful by influence of the neighbouring Holland and Gelre. In the city people were in favor for one of these , so there was much rivalry. Six cityfires made things worse.

In 1304 the craftmen, organised in their "Gildes", gained more power in the the local government. They did so for 200 years in which the DOM tower construction was started.

In the sixteenth century Utrecht was the biggest city of the Northern Netherlands and as such had most power in the "Staten", the government of the Netherlands.

For the next 150 years Utrecht was home to painters like Jan van Scorel.

Till the nineteenth century power shifted a couple of times, influences by Spanish and French occupations. The University of Utrecht was founded and opened at March 26,1636.

Utrecht grew as a central Dutch city with the most important railroad connection point of the country.

Nowadays 300.000 people live in the town and twice the number in the surrounding area.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Walkable and interesting center
  • Cons:Crowded and busy intersection of highways and railroads
  • In a nutshell:Center of the Netherlands
  • Last visit to Utrecht: Apr 2014
  • Intro Updated Apr 13, 2014
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Reviews (71)

Comments (12)

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Suddenly remember visiting a church in Utrecht years ago & being stunned by the austere interior. There was excellent information (panels or leaflets, I forget) about the Alteratie, something I was totally unaware of until then. I wish I could remember if it was the Dom that I visited. From memory, it wasn't as big as the Dom photos I see here. Anyway, I liked Utrecht a lot & next time, on a clear day, I'll climb the 465 steps of the Dom Tower in hope of seeing Amsterdam & Rotterdam! maybe even Hengelo! (of that last possibility, I'm really not sure! :-))

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    hi, thank you very much for the history of Utrecht. Guess Ultrajectum means "beyond the passage" or something like that? From your writing, would that passage or crossing be the Rhine? Don't worry about my ramblings, I'm working on something about Paris, doing lots of research which last night... brought me to Godfred the Viking being named Duke of Frisian Province... to ward him from attacking Paris again. I must stop here... this story has captured my mind but don't want to take too much of your time. :)

    • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
      Apr 18, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Probably the Rhine river. I am preparing writing my Leiden pages and at Utrecht the river is called Leidsche Rijn. PJ

  • Gili_S's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    I also remember good records shops here, those before the CD's time :) It seems it haven't changed that much since the last time I was here ;-)

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Great pic of my favourite little rabbit loved the gardens of the Dom

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2009 at 3:36 AM

    Another great page that is going to help me have a fantastic holiday, thanks ;-)

  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2007 at 9:40 PM

    Hahahah P J ,very nice picture van Utrecht met je Mini mini VT meeting . Leuk om Roy te zien ,we zien Roy niet veel meer in VT Groetjesssssssss

  • Imaniac's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2007 at 3:21 PM

    Snap! Great running into yo9u guys.

  • Mique's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2005 at 7:46 AM

    Excellent travelogue... ! So now secret meetings are the thing. Seems like i'm missing out on a whole lot of fun over there..

  • caffeine_induced78's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2005 at 1:17 PM

    It sounds like a couple of ladies had a bit of the Duvel in them. One of them wears red polish - is she evil?

  • Nathalie_B's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2005 at 8:22 AM

    ROFL PJ, you were guiding two terorrists around the town?

pieter_jan_v

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